Mongrel Mob linked to trust

The Mongrel Mob has been linked to a Dunedin-based charitable trust allegedly granted funds by government agency Whanau Ora.

The Otago Daily Times reported yesterday on a four-month investigation by Dunedin police, which led to the arrest of 10 men, some with Mongrel Mob Notorious connections.

Four Dunedin men were charged with dishonestly converting $20,000 of trust money, which was linked to government funding.

Southern District crime services manager Detective Inspector Steve McGregor yesterday named that trust as the "We Against Violence Trust".

"We are unable to comment further as the matters in relation to these arrests are now before the court and there are some ongoing inquiries."

The trust was registered in Dunedin in 2001, and was turned down for pokie trust money as recently as last year.

Inquiries by the ODT to government agencies led to Whanau Ora - a Maori Party flagship policy aimed at "providing services and opportunities to all families in need across New Zealand".

Minister of Whanau Ora, Tariana Turia, last night confirmed she was aware of the matter, and issued the following statement: "This is an operational matter, and is subject to a police investigation.

"My department are looking into this issue, and will keep me fully informed. I have been given full assurances, however, that they were unaware of any misappropriation."

Whanau Ora is jointly administered by the Ministries of Social Development and Te Pune Kokiri.

The 2011 Budget allocated $30 million to Whanau Ora, adding to the $134 million over four years provided by Budget 2010.

Attempts to contact trustees of the We Against Violence Trust last night were unsuccessful.


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